Shortsword attack icon

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esr
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Shortsword attack icon

Post by esr » July 26th, 2007, 4:02 am

A couple of units in in campaigns recently mainlined want a shortsword icon. I've enclosed one I made by frankensteining the human dagger icon with GIMP -- I rotated it and lengthened the blade.

What I'd like, but am not skilled enough to do, is to give the blade a more chisel-point effect like a Roman gladius.
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zookeeper
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Post by zookeeper » July 26th, 2007, 6:53 am

I'd just suggest using the short sword icon Liberty has.
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Post by turin » July 26th, 2007, 3:34 pm

That doesn't really look like a short sword... I don't even see why it's called that instead of, say, a Paladin sword.
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Re: Shortsword attack icon

Post by Jetrel » July 26th, 2007, 4:46 pm

esr wrote:A couple of units in in campaigns recently mainlined want a shortsword icon. I've enclosed one I made by frankensteining the human dagger icon with GIMP -- I rotated it and lengthened the blade.

What I'd like, but am not skilled enough to do, is to give the blade a more chisel-point effect like a Roman gladius.
Given the way our swords are framed, it's quite likely that even a short sword would have it's tip extending off the edge of the canvas. Generally, size gets implied by the curvature of things near the hilt, and gets implied chiefly by the relative size of the hilt.

I'll see what I can do about creating a new "loyalist short sword" image, since it would be useful for a lot of things. Maybe I can get that done tonight.

(I've also been meaning to remove that goofy square guard from the dagger, sometime).

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Cleaned up version of my shortsword icon

Post by esr » July 27th, 2007, 3:48 pm

Jetryl will probably do something better. But just in case, here's a slightly cleaned-up version of the shortsword, basically because I'm trying to learn how to be an at least minimally competent pixel slinger.

Jetryl, certainly most swords have the tip off one edge of the frame, but I'm thinking of this as a clear visual distinguisher for the shortsword that it *does* fit in the frame (yet is larger than a dagger).
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Post by Zebulon » July 27th, 2007, 5:13 pm

There's also this sword that Xan made:


Image

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Xan's sword...

Post by esr » July 29th, 2007, 5:27 am

...sure doesn't look like a shortsword hilt.

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Re: Cleaned up version of my shortsword icon

Post by Zhukov » July 29th, 2007, 7:11 am

esr wrote:...basically because I'm trying to learn how to be an at least minimally competent pixel slinger.
I think you'll find that the weapon icons aren't made by 'pixel-pushing'. Campare them to the sprites, the differences shoudl become evident.
esr wrote:...sure doesn't look like a shortsword hilt.
Agreed. It looks more like the head of some type of pole weapon. It needs to show more blade.

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Re: Cleaned up version of my shortsword icon

Post by Jetrel » July 29th, 2007, 8:17 am

esr wrote:Jetryl will probably do something better. But just in case, here's a slightly cleaned-up version of the shortsword, basically because I'm trying to learn how to be an at least minimally competent pixel slinger.
Probably the best bit of advice I can retroactively offer, would be to use bicubic interpolation when resizing/transforming things, rather than nearest-neighbor (or "none" as the gimp calls it). A related thing would be to use the brush tool for any edits on these icons (and use the pencil tool for any sprites). I'm happy to offer any advice I can.
esr wrote:Jetryl, certainly most swords have the tip off one edge of the frame, but I'm thinking of this as a clear visual distinguisher for the shortsword that it *does* fit in the frame (yet is larger than a dagger).
Image Image

Yeah, and there's the rub: it needs to be larger, much larger. It can't meet the definition of being a short sword, while remaining in the frame, and having it's hilt at the same place all other swords have theirs. I take the definition of being short sword to be - a dagger might be some 9-18 inches in length; a short sword needs to be at least 2 - 2.5 feet to be a sword, and not a dagger (FWIW, wikipedia says 64-81 cm/25-32 in). This is of course open to debate, but the following are what a gladius looks like:

http://www.georgehernandez.com/h/xMarti ... ladius.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Gladius_in_hand.jpg

:? I mean, I do sympathize with wanting to show an important element of the mechanics of what really made these effective weapons. I'm a geek for that kind of thing, too. But I'm up against the laws of physics, here. I can make a chisel-pointed dagger if you'd like, but I'll warn you that it's just not going to look like a short sword if the tip is visible. To illustrate everything I've said, consider the two gladius photos, resized into the attached icons. The top two are precisely the size they'd need to be to fit the scheme. The bottom two are what would happen if they were small enough to fit the frame - they start to look like kitchen knives,* and start to look totally out of style for wesnoth attack icons.



* This is because, based on the hilt, the current daggers look to be 1ft long or less (hilts/hafts don't change much in size, compared to the blade, because the human hand that grips it has a limited set of sizes it can wrap around - the hilts are the visual indication of how big the blade is).
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Post by esr » July 29th, 2007, 3:55 pm

Probably the best bit of advice I can retroactively offer, would be to use bicubic interpolation when resizing/transforming things, rather than nearest-neighbor (or "none" as the gimp calls it). A related thing would be to use the brush tool for any edits on these icons (and use the pencil tool for any sprites).


I did the rotation with GIMP rotate, but lengthened the blade by hand and then smoothed the results using, as you say, the brush and pencil tools.
Yeah, and there's the rub: it needs to be larger, much larger
I see your (you should pardon the expression) point. I guess of the four of those I like the upper-left one best as a popssible starting point -- best hilt definition.

Is my "shortsword" salvageable as a variant dagger?

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Post by Jetrel » August 19th, 2007, 4:17 am

:| A few explanations below - I apologize in advance if I'm pedantic, or if I'm covering things you already know; part of the purpose of this is to teach any reader of this post (I'll probably be copying some of this into the wiki). I'm also don't know what you do/don't know, and am just covering things indiscriminately.

esr wrote:
Probably the best bit of advice I can retroactively offer, would be to use bicubic interpolation when resizing/transforming things, rather than nearest-neighbor (or "none" as the gimp calls it). A related thing would be to use the brush tool for any edits on these icons (and use the pencil tool for any sprites).


I did the rotation with GIMP rotate,
There is no single "GIMP rotate"; or really, there are two different operations, with an identical UI, which get performed depending on what you have set in the program's options. These revolve around the problem of choosing what color value to give to an ideal, purely geometric pixel that's being quantized into the destination pixel plane. Whenever you rotate pixels (besides the rare 90° turns), the final pixels, which are not infinitesimally small, but have a small, square area, will not be above a single destination pixel, but above several. (The same thing applies to resizing, etc).

"Nearest Neighbor", which Gimp calls "no interpolation", by making the color of the final pixel equal to rotated pixel which occupies the closest position to the final spot. This is an optimization for speed, and made a big difference back on 50mhz machines, when you were resizing large pixel maps (say, 600x400). This solves corner cases by the same style of arbitrary choice that makes elementary school students round 0.5 up to 1 instead of zero - this introduces some noise.

"Bicubic Interpolation", which Gimp calls "Cubic Interpolation", chooses the color of the final pixel by interpolating between all of the rotated pixels which have any of their area overlapping the final pixel - it weights them according to how much of their area overlaps. So, for example, if we had some situation where four source pixels had been rotated to cover one final pixel, and two of the source pixels were white, and the other two black, and each covered 25% of the final pixel, the final pixel would be 50% grey. It's similar to what's called anti-aliasing.



The problem with using nearest neighbor, even for sprites, is that because of the very "binary, no middle-ground" way in which it solve this, and because of the fact that the source pixels are themselves a rasterization of an ideal, purely geometric original, when something gets rotated, it will cause the patterns of anti-aliasing that form shapes in the original to be translated by distances inconsistent with their internal anti-aliasing pattern, which introduces something that comes off as random noise. I'm not really sure, but I think these patterns coming from two sets of uneven intervals interacting are called "moire patterns".

You can see it on the blade you made, where in the middle of the blade there are several cases where multiple vertical pixels are in rows - almost like ribbing going perpendicular to the length of the blade. It also causes a stairstep, pattern on the edge. Especially on the first one, where there was no touch-up.

Image Image
esr wrote:but lengthened the blade by hand and then smoothed the results using, as you say, the brush and pencil tools.
Don't use the pencil tool, unless you're working on a sprite. Any stroke you make will not be anti-aliased, and will have jagged, unnatural edges. For doing these weapon icons - in fact, for doing everything except unit images, which are "pixel art" that needs to stay within a small color table, use the brush tool. Basically, the pencil tool suffers from the same problems as the nearest-neighbor interpolation; a purely geometric stroke, which is not infinitesimally small, but has a specified area, gets laid onto the underlying pixels if it covers more than 50% of them, but doesn't leave any trace if it covers less. The brush offers a "weighted according to covered area" method.


Modifying the image using a cubic-interpolated transform (whether a stretch, a rotate, or whatever), which is later stitched together with the brush tool (or otherwise modified with the brush tool), is the way to go. So, you're on the right track, it's just a question of which specific tools you use to accomplish the job.
Is my "shortsword" salvageable as a variant dagger?
TBH, fixing the stray pixels would really require redrawing ... the entire thing, really. I'd say that I might get around to it, eventually, but I probably won't.




Anyways, here's a short-sword which I made from scratch, inspired by the one you said you liked:
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Post by Jetrel » August 26th, 2007, 2:24 am

:| I've gone ahead and committed this.

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Post by Sangel » August 27th, 2007, 2:54 pm

It's a great image - of course it should be committed.

One of the problems with producing a steady stream of excellent work is that people come to take it for granted, and so no longer give the level of recognition the work truly deserved. As Terry Pratchett put it: "If you dig the best trenches, they hand you a bigger shovel".

I must say, Jetryl, I absolutely love all the updates I've seen since I last dropped by. The level of professionalism the Wesnoth art has achieved under your art direction is very impressive.
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